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Positive earnings updates set Wall St for higher open; Fed in focus

Credit: REUTERS/JEENAH MOON

Wall Street's main indexes were set to open higher on Wednesday as a slew of positive earnings updates and hopes for a dovish tone from the Federal Reserve overshadowed concerns about next steps for the government's coronavirus support plan.

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General Motors up after smaller-than-expected loss

Starbucks sees business 'steadily recovering', shares up

Boeing shares rise after results

Advanced Micro Devices surges after revenue forecast raise

Futures up: Dow 0.23%, S&P 0.35%, Nasdaq 0.67%

Adds quote, details; Updates prices

By Medha Singh and Devik Jain

July 29 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes were set to open higher on Wednesday as a slew of positive earnings updates and hopes for a dovish tone from the Federal Reserve overshadowed concerns about next steps for the government's coronavirus support plan.

General Motors Co GM.N rose 4.6% premarket after posting a smaller-than-expected loss for the second quarter, helped by pickup truck sales and aggressive cost-cutting.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc AMD.O jumped 11% after the chipmaker raised its full-year revenue forecast, driven in part by an overall surge in chip demand and market-share gains from larger rival Intel Corp INTC.O.

Of the 163 S&P 500 firms that have reported results, 79.1% have surpassed a low bar of quarterly profit expectations, according to Refinitiv IBES data, well above the average of 59% of companies beating profit estimates over the past four quarters.

Recent data pointed to a possible slowdown in business and hiring as infections spiked in southern and western U.S. states, and deaths from the novel coronavirus approached 150,000 in the country on Wednesday.

Investors will keep a close watch on how the U.S. central bank addresses these economic risks at the end of its two-day meeting on Wednesday.

No major policy decisions are expected in the Fed's statement at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT), which will be followed by Chair Jerome Powell's press conference.

Emergency monetary stimulus measures along with trillions of dollars in fiscal support have been pivotal in driving a sharp recovery in the U.S. stock markets since March.

"The biggest catalyst within the market right now — for at least the bullish sentiment — is where's the next wave of liquidity," said Andrew Smith, chief investment strategist, Delos Capital Advisors, based in Dallas.

Republicans in the U.S. Congress, White House and Democrats still struggled to find a deal on the $1 trillion coronavirus aid package, as the expiry of a $600-per-week enhanced coronavirus unemployment benefit loomed.

At 8:24 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 61 points, or 0.23%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 11.25 points, or 0.35% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 70.25 points, or 0.67%.

Boeing Co BA.N said it would cut production on its marquee 787 and 777 jet programs and reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss due to the fallout from the pandemic. The company's shares rose 1.3% after results.

Industrial conglomerate General Electric Co GE.N rose 2.3% after reporting smaller-than-expected cash outflows in its industrial business.

Starbucks Corp SBUX.O climbed 5.2% after the coffee chain said business was "steadily recovering" worldwide and it would return to profitability in the current quarter.

The chief executives of Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O, Facebook Inc FB.O, Apple Inc AAPL.O and Alphabet's Google GOOGL.O are set to face a congressional hearing on antitrust on Wednesday, marking their first time appearing before lawmakers together.

All four companies are set to report results on Thursday.

(Reporting by Medha Singh and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

((Devik.Jain@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2062; ;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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